If you get served with a debt collection lawsuit you need to move without delay. The deadlines are very tight.
There are many reasons why people do not answer as is required and therefore seriously hazard a favorable outcome.
Among these reasons is denial. Naturally, nobody wants to be the defendant in a lawsuit like this one, and many of us think that if it is out of sight it will go away.
But you have to answer and do it right, because this first step greatly influences your strategy and determines your possibility of success.
On the other hand, you have to be wary of companies or individuals that recommend that you perform these tasks by yourself.
To comply with the requisite procedure takes knowledge and experience and there is no room for tactics involving trial and error. For instance, to validate the information in the summons packet requires special research skills.
It is important to determine if the party collecting the debt has the legal right to do so. Who was the original creditor? Who is the owner of the debt now? Are there any situations where ownership can be disputed?
How do you file a motion to dismiss an unqualified creditor? It is important to follow the requisite procedure. For instance, what documents should accompany a request to appear before the court to defend the lawsuit? What is the statute of limitations regarding each one of the debts? Some steps of the process require you to send discovery documents requested by the creditor. Should you omit some types of documents? How do you do this?
Moreover, how do you place requests for interrogatories? In general, what are the chances of the creditor’s counsel to win a motion for a summary judgment at the end of discovery? If a default was entered because you failed to answer the complaint timely, can the default be reversed? In what circumstances and how can a default be set aside?
I am only trying to give you some examples of delicate situations where the suitability of the answer really impacts the outcome. It is not advisable for a debtor to try to accomplish these procedures without the support of appropriate legal counsel.
What is at stake?
As you probably know if the Judge rules against you not only your wages can be garnished but also your assets, as your savings and checking account balance, can be seized, and a lien can be placed on your property.
I work hard, very hard for my clients, but I also try every day to be smart. A litigation strategy unravels as the case progresses, often in unexpected ways. It is not a task that is accomplished at once when the first plan is laid out. It is a dynamic thing and it requires a dynamic approach. It engages all the resources that a counselor can bring about.
This situation is afflicting many families in the U.S.
American households are deeply in debt. Total credit card debt recently was at 925 billion.
Approximately half of the families in the U.S. have outstanding credit card debt. This is 55 billion families owe on the average $15,799.
According to statistics published by the Federal Reserve and other agencies, 56% of consumers carried an unpaid credit card balance in the last 12 months before the date of the study.
For many families, credit card payments take a big chunk of their income. On the average 14% of consumer income goes to pay credit card debt. According to Federal Reserve data, Miami is the city with the highest consumer debt as a percentage of yearly salary. 23% of yearly salary is owed to credit card companies.
Most common defenses to credit lawsuit
You may be able to do one or more of the following defense strategies.
Improper Service of the Summons or Complaint.
This is a purely procedural matter but it needs to happen. You may have been served incorrectly or out of the jurisdictional limits of the court, for instance.
Statute of Limitations.
A particular debt may have expired. Sometimes this is not evident. Many creditors presenting lawsuits at the same time may be confusing. Or there is no certainty that the original date is the one to look for if the debt was sold. Sometimes it is not clear if all the rights of the debt were sold.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
FDCAT is the federal law regulating collections. Some effective defenses are based on this law. FDCAT says that “you have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated.” (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. At: www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceeding/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text) You can review the full text of the law at its website. (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, ibid.)
Lack of Standing.
This is a big issue. Standing must be proved. A creditor can sue only if it has a relationship with you. If the original credit card company sold the debt to a debt purchaser this may be hard to prove. There are many aspects of lack of standing that your lawyer can explore with you.
As I say to my clients, settlement is almost always possible. If either you paid by mistake another account, or if you want to reach an agreement with the credit card company, this is a valid alternative. It is based on negotiation strategies. Keep that in mind because it helps to understand this stage as an effort to find a middle ground.
Fraudulent Credit Charges.
If your credit card or your identity were stolen the charges incurred can be disputed. Most if not all of the creditors will recognize and help you with a situation like this.
Discharge in Bankruptcy.
There are different types of bankruptcy. Don’t be afraid of that word. It is currently associated to failure but it rather should be understood as your effort to take control. It is a powerful strategy.
Choose a lawyer to help you
Choose a lawyer to help you with your problem. Your best lawyer would be experienced, knowledgeable and very analytical. She should be very good at research and strategy but also articulate, flexible and an excellent negotiator. She should be hard working and determined to find a solution for your problem. But most of all she should be caring and truly interested in your well-being as a person.
One full hour of free consultation
Make an appointment with me. I will sit with you for an hour of initial consultation, where we will go extensively over your whole situation and predicament, free of charge. I will explain to you all the requirements and consequences of different strategies. I will tell you for which strategy you qualify. And I will let you know what my legal fees and other costs may be for your case.
I have affordable plans for legal fees. The legal fees cover the petition and accompanying documents, along with my attendance to the respective court hearings acting in your representation and behalf. Court costs are additional. If your case requires the filing of additional motions, that is, requests to the court, additional legal fees and costs may apply for preparing and filing the motion and attending the hearing. The free consultation does not put you under any obligation to me. You are free to get other opinions, and decide after you have shopped around.
Just don’t let the problem go unsolved. Act upon it, get a control over it, and free yourself from it! I really hope to hear from you. I look forward to help you out. Call me.